Every day, I am thankful to live in East Texas.
Believe it or not, this was never the “plan” I had in mind three years ago. I was going to graduate college (Wreck'Em!), move to the metroplex and create PR campaigns for some big corporation or I was going to work in politics. Well, we didn’t quite get there. At all.
I didn’t apply for jobs right out of college. My parents told me to wait. What kind of parents tell their child to WAIT to find a JOB out of college? Ha! Mine. We went on several fun vacations in the summer of 2015. By September, I was searching high and low for my dream job and any excuse to get out of my parents house. I interviewed with two different companies for two very different jobs. One position was with the University of Texas at Tyler and the other was with Disney Cruise Line. See…I told you they were different. I made it to the final round of interviews for both positions. These weren’t just face to face interviews. They were extensive. They wanted to know that I could write, speak, use social media fluently and everything in between. I even had to create sample content for both entities. You can only imagine how crushing it was to get the “we’re sorry to inform you email.” I continued working for my parents (they owned a business at the time) and while it wasn’t the worst job in the world, it wasn’t meant for me. It took me a while to realize this, but God gently said “Ashton, I have something else in store for you.”
Have you ever read Love Does by Bob Goff? If you haven’t, you should. In his book, Bob notes: “I’ve learned that God sometimes allows us to find ourselves in a place where we want something so bad that we can’t see past it…when we want something that bad, it’s easy to mistake what we truly need for the thing we really want…all along, what God really wants for us is something much different, something more tailored to us.”
I learned that God wanted something much different for me. Two years ago, I jumped back into journalism, partially because it came natural to me and partially because I needed something else to do. To be honest, I never even intended to be here this long, but God wants me to pursue it.
I have a love-hate relationship with writing. I love telling the stories of others and I love sharing real, factual information with all of you. I hate that I am a perfectionist and I hate that whatever I write for all of you is never good enough in my book. I changed my major halfway through my college career because I didn’t want to get back into publications upon graduation. This profession was never on MY radar, but it was on God’s.
I often get asked (by many people in Kilgore), “How’s Henderson?” I know they mean no harm by it and they are just generally asking about my job, but in the last few weeks I have hated this question. Why? Because for the past few weeks I have asked myself “what in the world are you doing in Henderson, Texas?” I even downloaded a few job searching apps on my phone. I was in a funk. But even as I mindlessly scrolled through jobs, I couldn’t bring myself to apply for anything. Why? Because I can’t imagine doing anything else right now. Do I want to be doing this forever? Absolutely not (I’m a Kilgore girl, remember?) but I will cherish this season. My dream of working in public relations or even politics has not diminished. It has blossomed. Henderson is a stepping stone for me. Do you know anyone under the age of 25 that runs the editorial department of a newspaper? Even I sometimes forget how important my job is. So many of you have taught me things I would have never learned working for a big corporation, a university or even Disney Cruise Line.
I am constantly learning that God is not limited by my location. He just wants me to have a willing and obedient heart. He is preparing and equipping me for what lies ahead. On the days that I could walk out and never look back, God pulls on my heart strings. Whether I am here for a little while or five years, I am confident that this is where I am supposed to be right now.
The bigger picture is far more important than the small fraction of the image we choose to focus on. God can take any circumstance and work wonders with it. He’s really good at doing that, isn’t He?